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Bengals' first-round picks under Lewis

CINCINNATI -- Now that the Cincinnati Bengals' free-agency efforts are nearly wrapped up following Dane Sanzenbacher's re-signing Tuesday, we turn our attention to the NFL draft.

As drafts go, this ought to be a relatively painless one for the Bengals. They enter it with few needs and are focused on bringing in players who have potential, but will likely be kept on the bench until some veteran starters depart.

Depth is the issue in this draft for the Bengals; not instant impact.

That hasn't always been the case for them, though. At various points during coach Marvin Lewis' 11-year tenure the Bengals have needed players who could come in and start from Week 1 of their first season. Quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green are prime examples. The two 2011 picks were selected with the expectation they could jump right in and start establishing themselves as the franchise's quarterback-receiving tandem of the future.

Part of the reason the Bengals have sought players who could start right away across the past 11 drafts is because early in Lewis' career the Bengals were rallying back from the disappointment of the 1990s. High draft picks were a near certainty in those early seasons under Lewis, so when Carson Palmer was taken first overall in 2003, it was because the Bengals were seeking a new direction and someone who had the tools to take them there right away.

The chart below offers a quick look at the Bengals' first-round picks under Lewis.

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